By Joseph Erunke
PROPRIETORS of private polytechnics in the country have appealed to the federal government to as a matter of urgency reopen polytechnics shut down in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.
The owners of private polytechnics operating under the aegis of Association of Proprietors of Private Polytechnics in Nigeria, APPPN, in a statement, Thursday, through their National President, Dr Moses Adeyemi, disagreed with lecturers of public and private polytechnics that tertiary institutions should remain closed to activities due to COVID-19.
Recall that university lecturers and their polytechnic colleagues operating under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, respectively, had declared that schools in the country should not be reopened for now.
ASUP and ASUU have stated that the population of students in public tertiary institutions are too large to allowed for social distancing in line with COVID-19 management protocols.
But reacting to the positions of the two lecturer bodies, the APPPN said it doubted their sincerities.
“APPPN doubts the sincerity of ASSU and ASUP in this regard,” it said.
APPPN said COVID-19 has exposed admission fraud in public tertiary institutions.
“The regulatory bodies, National University Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) access facilities before granting approval to offer a program and do not also authorize admission above the carrying capacity of the Institutions based of its facilities.
“Admissions into Nigerian tertiary Institutions are also regulated by Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) who do not allow admission above carrying capacity approved by NUC or NBTE”, it said, adding: “The question now is: how did these Institutions come about the extra-large classes? ”
Continuing, the APPPN said: We don’t believe that there are different standards for private Institutions. Private Polytechnic admits within its capacity and most of us don’t have enough students because the public Institutions hoard the students during JAMB admission. The number of students in private polytechnics allows for social distancing.:
“APPPN says it has put measures in place for the safe return of students to campus. Chief Dr Adeyemi says the return of students to campus will help Polytechnics contribute towards combating the pandemic. You cannot close technological Institutions that supposed to be assisting in required technology for controlling the disease, it said.
Dr Adeyemi said:” For ASUU and ASUP to claim that Private Institutions are calling for resumption because of financial gains, Chief Dr Adeyemi said public institutions position themselves for profit far more than private schools.
“He said it is because of profit that public schools over admit students and do so outside the laws, outside the approval of NUC and NBTE and without the clear knowledge of JAMB. If not for profit why should public schools be having students in regular programs, evening programs, weekend programs, consultancy programs etc? Are these programs not profit-oriented, APPPN asked? ”
According to him,” there is no private tertiary institutions in Nigeria that offer such programs.”
” If ASUP can openly say some Polytechnics have over 10,000 students, let us investigate how many programs are approved to such Polytechnic. Polytechnic using loudspeakers to teach students should let NBTE see such speakers during accreditation and also let the world know the class size approved by the regulatory body that required the loudspeakers. To say the least public Institutions, have inbuilt profit mechanism bigger than any private school,” he added.
The President of APPPN called for the restructuring of Jamb to allow private polytechnics to have sufficient students in its approved programs.
“Our youth now roam the streets, markets, football fields, game houses etc exposed to all social vices without control.
APPPN call on the Minister of Education to announce date within the current phase of COVID-19 lockdown for the resumption of Polytechnics as Private Polytechnic are anxious to contribute to national growth. We are partner in progress in all facets of the Nation’s economy.”